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game recap

Offence Propels Leafs To Win

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:47 AM

The Canadian Press

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Offence Propels Leafs To Win
Tampa Bay Lightning 3, Toronto Maple Leafs 7
Three Stars of the Game
Joffrey Lupul
1st
G: 1Shots: 3
A: 3Hits: 1
PTS: 4PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 16:31
Matt Frattin
2nd
G: 1Shots: 2
A: 1Hits: 1
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 2TOI: 8:58
Carl Gunnarsson
3rd
Carl Gunnarsson
D
G: 1Shots: 3
A: 0Hits: 4
PTS: 1PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 25:45






TORONTO --  With the turn of the calendar, the Toronto Maple Leafs found a way to hit the pressure release valve.
  THREE STAR SELECTIONS

1st Star
Joffrey Lupul
G A P +/- Shots
1 3 4 +1 3
2nd Star
Matt Frattin
G A P +/- Shots
1 1 2 +2 3
3rd Star
  Carl Gunnarsson
G A P +/- Shots
1 0 1 +1 3

The team's much-maligned penalty kill woke up just in time to kick off a crucial part of the season, shutting down the Tampa Bay Lightning on five opportunities and riding an offensive explosion to a 7-3 victory on Tuesday night.

But relief didn't come from the onslaught of goals, not with so many of the team's recent struggles tied to their inability to kill a penalty. The NHL's worst unit was the focus of a tense practice on Monday and looked much better a night later as the Leafs killed off three first-period minors - drawing cheers from tense fans.

``We have a mindset now that we're starting fresh in 2012,'' said Leafs forward Darryl Boyce. ``Regardless of how well we do until the rest of the year _ we're not going to bring 73 per cent up to the 90s by any means - our mindset is we're just going to start fresh and we're going to put our best foot forward in 2012.''

They got off to a good start on a number of fronts.

Joffrey Lupul led the way offensively with a goal and three assists, bringing his season total up to 44 points, good for fourth overall in the NHL. Just as important were the rare goals from Carl Gunnarsson and Boyce, who ended up getting credit for the game-winner.

``It felt like we were ready to play and we really wanted to have a good night,'' said goaltender Jonas Gustavsson. ``I think the guys played unbelievable.''

The timing couldn't have been better with the Leafs embarking on an important stretch that will see them play nine of 11 games at Air Canada Centre heading into the all-star break. The team has recently fallen out of the top eight in the Eastern Conference and earned valuable points against the Lightning, who are chasing not far behind.
  BY THE NUMBERS

14 Goals the Leafs have scored against the Lightning in two games this season.
300 Career NHL points for Joffrey Lupul.
1:48 Time the Leafs and Lightning combined for wild four-goal flurry in the second.
5 Leafs to record at least two points in the game.
5/5 On the penalty kill for the Leafs in the win.

``That's huge,'' said Gunnarsson. ``We just want to keep them below us and try to climb up the standings.''

Mikhail Grabovski, Matt Frattin, Dion Phaneuf and Phil Kessel also had goals for the Leafs (19-15-5), who beat Tampa 7-1 in their only other meeting Nov. 22.

Vincent Lecavalier, Steven Stamkos and Pavel Kubina replied for the Lightning (17-18-3).

Tampa entered the game on a promising 5-1-1 run and got on the scoreboard early, with Lecavalier finding the puck in traffic and beating Jonas Gustavsson at 58 seconds. But the Lightning were unable to sustain that momentum after getting thwarted during the man advantage situations.

Coach Guy Boucher had harsh words about the team's power-play efficiency in road arenas.

``I don't want to downplay (the Leafs' effort) but we're horrible against everybody,'' he said. ``Sometimes I feel we could have four orange cones against us on the road and we still wouldn't get a shot. We could certainly do better against anybody no matter what they do.''

No matter for the Leafs, who clearly viewed the success as a shot in the arm.

Toronto killed off four early Lightning power plays, including a 5-on-3 disadvantage, before its offence kicked into high gear later in the game. The team has spoken openly about its ongoing struggles with the penalty kill all season.
  LEAFS REMARKS

Ron Wilson on the contributions of Darryl Boyce:

"It's contagious when somebody like that does those little things. I mean, he ends up scoring a goal but the block on the 5-on-3 was huge. When you look up I think we had 49 seconds when we started and Stecks won the face-off and we got it down and then Boycer went out and made the big block. That's what we haven't been getting a lot on our PK are guys willing to block shots. The forwards got a few tonight and the D were excellent around the net in terms of blocking shots."


``For us to win games we've got to keep getting better in that area,'' Phaneuf said. ``We know that, we've been open and said that we've got to get better. We've taken responsibility that we need to be better.

``I thought we did that tonight and we're going to use that game and move forward.''

A wild second period helped seal the Leafs victory.

Stamkos kicked things off by scoring his league-leading 27th goal to briefly tie it 2-2. But Grabovski and Kubina traded goals in the next 91 seconds and Boyce put Toronto ahead for good just 17 seconds after that.

It capped a nice night for the fourth-line winger, who stood out with limited minutes in his sixth game since being recalled from the American Hockey League. He's now a key member of the penalty kill.

``It's contagious when somebody like that does those little things,'' Leafs coach Ron Wilson said of Boyce. ``The blocked shot on that 5-on-3 was huge. ... That's what we haven't been getting a lot of on our PK.''

The late scoring barrage also made things easier on Gustavsson, who picked up the victory in his first start since Dec. 17. He finished with 21 saves.

Most importantly, it brought some smiles back into the Leafs dressing room that were nowhere to be found after the team came home from a 1-2-1 road trip over the holidays.

``It wasn't a very good feeling in here coming off that road trip,'' Lupul said. ``We lost some games we probably could have won. I think it was good for us to have that lead going into the third (period) and play a strong period the whole way through.''

Notes:
Stamkos has 11 goals and 14 points in his last nine games ... Lightning defenceman Victor Hedman missed his third game with a concussion. He isn't travelling with the team ... Frattin celebrated his 24th birthday ... A tribute to Ron Wilson's uncle, Johnny, was played during the first period. The former NHLer died Dec. 27 at age 82 ... Announced attendance was 19,425.
NEXT GAME:

Thursday, January 5
  vs. Winnipeg Jets
  7 PM ET (Leafs TV, AM640)


The Maple Leafs' homestand continues as they face the Jets for the second time in five days.

The Jets will be playing their second game in as many nights as they face the Montreal Canadiens Wednesday to start a four-game road trip.






scoring summary
1st Period
00:58
TBL
Vincent Lecavalier (14) ASST: JT Wyman (2), Dominic Moore (10)
1 - 0 TBL
03:25
TOR
Joffrey Lupul (18) ASST: Tim Connolly (13), Jake Gardiner (10)
1 - 1 Tie
08:46
TOR
Carl Gunnarsson (2) ASST: Tim Connolly (14), Joffrey Lupul (24)
2 - 1 TOR
2nd Period
11:55
TBL
Steven Stamkos (27) ASST: Martin St. Louis (21)
2 - 2 Tie
12:28
TOR
Mikhail Grabovski (11) ASST: Joffrey Lupul (25), Luke Schenn (11)
3 - 2 TOR
13:26
TBL
Pavel Kubina (3) ASST: Eric Brewer (10)
3 - 3 Tie
13:43
TOR
Darryl Boyce (1) ASST: Matt Frattin (5), Keith Aulie (1)
4 - 3 TOR
19:22
TOR
Matt Frattin (5) ASST: Nazem Kadri (2), Matthew Lombardi (5)
5 - 3 TOR
3rd Period
01:23
TOR
PPG - Dion Phaneuf (6) ASST: Mikhail Grabovski (10), Clarke MacArthur (9)
6 - 3 TOR
12:28
TOR
PPG - Phil Kessel (22) ASST: Joffrey Lupul (26), Dion Phaneuf (20)
7 - 3 TOR
penalty summary
1st Period
01:15
TBL
Marc-Andre Bergeron  Holding against  Nazem Kadri
11:58
TOR
Dion Phaneuf  Roughing against  Steve Downie
11:58
TBL
Steve Downie  Roughing against  Dion Phaneuf
11:58
TBL
Steve Downie  Roughing against  Dion Phaneuf
14:40
TOR
Cody Franson  Boarding against  Martin St. Louis
17:20
TOR
Luke Schenn  Roughing against  Dana Tyrell
18:35
TOR
Tim Connolly  Elbowing against  Steve Downie
2nd Period
06:34
TOR
Matt Frattin  Too many men/ice - bench
13:59
TOR
Darryl Boyce  Roughing against  Steve Downie
13:59
TBL
Steve Downie  Unsportsmanlike conduct
13:59
TOR
Keith Aulie  Roughing against  Steve Downie
13:59
TBL
Steve Downie  Roughing against  Darryl Boyce
13:59
TBL
Steve Downie  Roughing against  Darryl Boyce
13:59
TBL
Steve Downie  Misconduct (10 min) against  Darryl Boyce
13:59
TOR
Darryl Boyce  Misconduct (10 min) against  Steve Downie
3rd Period
00:56
TBL
Teddy Purcell  Interference against  Tim Connolly
06:35
TOR
Jonas Gustavsson  Tripping against  Vincent Lecavalier
11:32
TBL
Pavel Kubina  Holding against  Matt Frattin
12:04
TBL
Adam Hall  Roughing against  Dion Phaneuf
16:32
TBL
Nate Thompson  Fighting (maj) against  Luke Schenn
16:32
TOR
Luke Schenn  Fighting (maj) against  Nate Thompson
goalie stats
Dwayne Roloson
Dwayne Roloson
SA: 21TOI: 26:17
Saves: 18EV: 10 - 11
PIM: 0PP: 7 - 9
SV%: .857SH: 1 - 1
Mathieu Garon
Mathieu Garon
11-10-2
SA: 21TOI: 33:43
Saves: 17EV: 11 - 15
PIM: 0PP: 5 - 5
SV%: .810SH: 1 - 1
Jonas Gustavsson
SA: 24TOI: 60:00
Saves: 21EV: 17 - 20
PIM: 2PP: 3 - 3
SV%: .875SH: 1 - 1
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